Friday, September 19, 2008

DayJet Ceases Operations

DayJet, the most ambitious of the new "air-taxi" services, has ceased operations. DayJet was the chief customer for Eclipse 500 very-light jets, and Eclipse itself has been struggling with production and other problems

The credit crunch, which had earlier caused DayJet to curtail expansion plans and lay off half of its 250 employees in May, was cited as the main reason for halting operations. The trouble at Eclipse Aviation was another.

DayJet is based in Boca Raton, Fla., and operated flights in Florida and adjoining states.

The news of DayJet's closing is stunning to those in the industry who envisioned a new era of personal air transport on cheap little jets like the Eclipse 500s, with air-taxi companies that served smaller regional airports with point-to-point on demand flights, selling tickets either by the seat (as DayJet's extremely complex business plan did it) or by the entire plane, as a kind of charter-service.

Here is the sad announcement from DayJet, and here is the FAQ notice the company sent out this afternoon.

At its closing, DayJet had taken delivery of 28 Eclipse 500 aircraft and had about 1,400 outstanding orders, which accounted for more than half of Eclipse's total order book.

Customers holding tickets purchased through credit cards (and not debit cards, which don't carry the same legal protections in the event of a service not rendered) can their contact credit card companies for refunds.

And whither Eclipse Aviation? Here's a report with some links for background on Eclipse's troubles.

{Update Sept. 20 -- The Albuquerque-based aircraft manufacturer issued a statement today saying that "while DayJet was Eclipse's largest customer, Eclipse's business model and success has [sic] never relied solely on DayJet. Eclipse still has hundreds of orders to fill independent of DayJet, and existing customers will be happy and eager to move up in line. Eclipse also anticipates ongoing interest in the United States as well as fulfilling the strong demand for the Eclipse 500 in the global markets."}


No comments: